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OU, OCCC Announce Partnership to Address Oklahoma Teacher Shortage

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A group of people at a display table at OCCC, with a balloon arch in the back.

OU, OCCC Announce Partnership to Address Oklahoma Teacher Shortage

February 22, 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY – To address the need for qualified teachers in Oklahoma classrooms, the University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and Oklahoma City Community College have partnered to create OU Teacher Bound x OCCC for students interested in becoming teachers in Oklahoma.

A 2023 study of teacher-student ratios in each state ranked Oklahoma 13th for highest teacher shortages in the United States. Oklahoma’s teacher shortage led to a record-breaking 3,780 emergency teaching certifications issued in 2022, and from 2001-2018, Oklahoma’s enrollment in university education programs dropped by 80%.

This partnership aims to grow the number of qualified pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in Oklahoma and provides support and guidance for students toward completion of both their associate and bachelor’s degrees in education. Both institutions will advise students to map out their academic plan, and students will be connected to a variety of funding sources and student support resources across both institutions.

“In many ways, the prosperity of our state begins in the classroom, where every day our teachers ignite the spark of learning and creativity and inspire our children to grow and pursue their passions,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are excited to work alongside OCCC to strengthen Oklahoma’s teacher education pipeline, addressing our state’s critical need for more teachers.”

“OU Teacher Bound x OCCC is the result of collaboration and unified goals between higher education partners,” said OCCC President Mautra Staley Jones. “This pathway for prospective teachers will help fill workforce gaps in Oklahoma’s classrooms, ensuring that our state’s youngest minds have the educational opportunities they deserve to flourish.” 

Students who participate in this program will be invited to engage with OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at various events while still completing coursework at OCCC. A Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education faculty member also will teach one section of Success in College and Life on the OCCC campus each semester.

“We believe that every child in every classroom in Oklahoma deserves a well-prepared teacher and the OU Teacher Bound x OCCC program will help us secure that future,” said Stacy Reeder, dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education. “Working together, the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and Oklahoma City Community College will prepare more teachers to meet the state’s teacher workforce shortage and improve outcomes for children and families in our state.”

OCCC students will receive focused advising that is coordinated between OCCC and OU. They also will have access to funding currently available to OU students, such as Inspired to Teach and the TEACH Grant.

“This pathway to success established by the OU Teacher Bound x OCCC program provides students with clear direction and support as they work to achieve their goals,” said Juanita Ortiz, OCCC vice president of academic affairs. “With this partnership, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City Community College are working to address Oklahoma’s teacher shortages.”   

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.

About Oklahoma City Community College 

Since its inception in 1972, Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) has been the heartbeat of the Metro, dedicated to empowering learners and strengthening communities. Serving more than 18,000 students, we are committed to producing leaders. “Student Success, Community Enrichment” is our mission, and we offer more than 87 degree and certificate programs that provide a foundation for further education or immediate career readiness. We remain dedicated to providing accessible, affordable, high-quality education that equips students to achieve personal and professional goals. OCCC is more than an institution; we are a community catalyst, fostering growth and success in our city, our workforce, and the lives of our students. Discover your potential at OCCC, where your future is our purpose. Visit us at occc.edu.


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